After using WorkFlowy in November for managing the things I have to do and starting my Year of Living Better and using Evernote for the things I want to know - I'm starting to get a clearer picture about how these services fit together. I stopped being active on Goodreads and TripIt because they weren't more valuable than other options and I thought the same might be true of WorkFlowy and Evernote. Instead I'm going to try this approach:
- If it is something to do, I will use WorkFlowy.
- Get a book from the library
- Write a blog post
- Pay a bill
- If it is something to know, I will use Evernote.
- What my online passwords are (see this post about using Evernote for this)
- When did I pay my credit card and what was the confirmation number
- What is the name of that book from an interview I heard
Lately the bulk of my Evernote usage has been a holding tank for research about living better and I wanted to use this post to highlight how I'm using it.
The first step I did was to create a notebook titled 1 Year of Change. I included the '1' in the name so that it was before all the other notebooks in my list. Within this I created a notebook for each topic - in my case the twelve areas of my life I'm addressing during the upcoming year. These I also prefixed, but with letters to order them. "A November - Writing, B December - Happiness" and so on. This structure has been really helpful, not just for this project, but for both the larger use of Evernote and life in general. When I know where things go, it's easy to put them there and then it's easy to find them later. Evernote has allowed this in my digital life, now if they'd only expand to a system for children's shoes.
After creating the structure then - it's time to get into the research and for this there have been three essential keyboard shortcuts for me.
- CTRL-N. When I'm researching something I try to dive deep into one area.* For this month it's been happiness and I'm trying to examine all things about this. I'll use CTRL-N to create a new note within the Happiness notebook. This is great when I discover a journal article that I want to read and take notes on.
- CTRL-K. Add a link. In graduate school I remember becoming an APA citation style ninja. Now I only use links. Before noting details from what I'm reading, I'll type the title and then select the text, hold ALT-K, and add a link to where I found it. (this labeled incorrectly in the image)
- CTRL-SHIFT-H. Highlight selected text. This one is most helpful using Evernote's Web Clipper. I'll save an article into my Evernote account and then highlight the important parts.
These are the things I need to know, and Evernote helps me remember them.
*Cal Newport has always written well about the idea of "diving deep" into your work to get the richest results. If you're a knowledge worker then you should be reading him.